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Saint John marks 239th birthday with 21-gun salute

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On May 18, 1785, Saint John, N.B., became the first incorporated city in what is now Canada.

The date also marks Loyalist Day in the Port City, celebrating the 241st anniversary of when the Loyalist first began to land in what is now New Brunswick, following the American War of Independence. The day is more commonly known as Loyalist Day.

To celebrate both important milestones, the 3rd Field Artillery Regiment (The Loyal Company) held a 21-gun royal salute at Fort Howe overlooking the Saint John Harbour, firing blank ammunition that could be heard across the city.

“In 1793 with about 15,000 Loyalist living in Saint John there was an order establish to raise a company of artillery,” says commanding officers of the 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Kevan Currie.

“Since that time on May 18, on Loyalist Days our unit has fired a royal salute.”

The artillery weapon is being prepared to fire a blank to commemorate Loyalist Day. (CTV/Avery MacRae)Lt. Col. Currie points out the City of Saint John has special exemption to perform a royal salute each year, noting Canada Day and Remembrance Day are the only other national holidays with such an honour.

“I think it’s excellent because a lot of our soldiers are from the city of Saint John,” says Lt. Col. Currie.

“We have a lot of history since 1793 serving the city, province and country. Anything we do to celebrate the great city of Saint John is always good.”

He notes the celebration each year is important to not only remember the past, but as a source of pride for those who live in the area.

It also serves as a chance for the artillery to interact with the public.

“The more that we can show the population and the citizens of the town what we do as reservist, and what we do for the city, province and country the better,” Lt. Col. Currie points out. “I think it is great we get to talk with the citizens and then get to talk with us and we bridge that gap and learn form each other.”

Saint John’s Loyalist House was also open to the public Saturday to mark the holiday.

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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